prototyp

[MOC] Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP ’93 - 1/15 Scale

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Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93


TLDR: Super-detailed fully-modularized Creator-scale 16-wide MOC build of epic multiple-championship-winning early-90s IMSA GTP prototype.

1007 pieces (including 4 round-plates-with-strings, 6 pneumatic tubes, 1 hose, and 8 “non-Lego” custom parts).
1/15 scale: 17 stud wide (ish), 40 stud long, 22 stud wheelbase

 

October 2nd, 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the IMSA GTP championship’s last race. This is the car that won.

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The mid-1980's were a boom time for American sports car racing. The IMSA GTP series was thick with manufacturers and strong privateer teams running Porsche, Jaguar, BMW, Chevrolet, Buick, Ford, Mazda, Acura, Nissan, and Toyota power integrated into myriad different chassis designs. Swelling budgets and fierce competitiveness forced materials and electronics technologies to evolve at a rapid pace.

Dan Gurney and his All American Racers team had been on a learning curve with sports cars which really started heating up with the beastly GTO-class Toyota Celica. Their foray into big-league prototypes came first with an adaptation of a Group C based Toyota 88C and then the team's own 962-inspired HF89. These all helped to forge reliable power from Toyota’s 2.1 liter twin-cam 4cyl and teach many valuable lessons in designing and building a robust and competitive car.

The MkIII debuted in 1991, entering into arguably the most competitive of GTP's seasons. The now-mighty little Toyota engine was connected to a compact carbon-fiber space-capsule wrapped in an achingly-simple shape which hid massive aero tricks. Dominance quickly followed with 21 victories in 27 races entered over three seasons. 

The glory of the series wasn't to last. By 1993, a global recession and conflicting technical regulations thinned the field such that at the end of the GTP era, Dan’s team was effectively left battling itself. For what it’s worth, I don’t believe this is the “car that killed GTP”… Successful racing series don’t die because a team or a car dominate, that’s what heads-up rulemakers govern and what motivated competitors rise to challenge. These guys were just the last ones standing as top-tier sports-car racing collapsed worldwide.

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The exterior build posed a few challenges, mostly in capturing the layered smoothness of the nose and weaving slopes together to form the severe cutaway area aft of the front wheels. One of the things which has made me reluctant to work at this scale in Lego is the lack of an elegant solution for the heavily-curving windscreens and rear cowls found on prototypes. I wanted to capture the smooth simplicity of the MkIII’s shape without doing complex arrays of slope parts for the glass and engine cover so these surfaces are done as single-piece sheet elements designed to lock into the Lego framework (much like the recent minifig camping tent or Forma fish... anyone remember the City windsurfer?). These few non-TLG exterior parts plus the handmade BBS wheel centers are why strict Lego-only purists should probably think of this a “hybrid scale model”…

Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93

 

Pull off the bodywork, though, and it’s 100% TLG.

The MkIII's chassis has layers of very clever engineering done with a beautiful aesthetic of carbon fiber, kevlar, bare exotic metals, spindly gray-painted suspension arms, and amazing red-anodized fixing points throughout. It’s very purposeful but also very cohesive and elegant. This translates into an opportunity for some excellent Lego part and color usage. 

My primary goal for this model was to render a study of the engineering under the skin and to capture the modularity of prototypes as much as possible. There’s the core monocoque tub and a separate drivetrain, with further modules for the ducted side pods, doors, front splitter, bodywork, wing, etc. Hung off the chassis at all four corners is a suspension of bars and clips locating #90202 Technic wheel hubs.

Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93



The driveline build captures the MkIII’s key features: the semi-structural and heavily-turbocharged Toyota 503E engine, the big red anodized mounting plates, the tall trapezoidal magnesium bellhousing which serves as the oil tank and rear suspension rocker-arm mounting structure, and the long load-bearing plates for the rear wing. This rear half of the model is mounted to the tub as in the full-scale car: plates at the top and base of the engine plus struts locating the central suspension structure. Despite all this modularity, the model builds up to be very solid.

 

Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93

 

The cockpit is complete too; the seat, steering wheel, digital dash, switch panel, giant boost knob and handy “hardwood” shift-knob are all tucked in there. Other details inside include the bulkhead-mounted electronic engine-management modules and the front suspension's lower trailing-arm mounting.

Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93

 

More photos up at Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/prototyp/

As always, thanks for looking and thanks for the inspiration,
Prototyp

 

 

 

Toyota Eagle MkIII IMSA GTP '93



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References and inspiration

Malte Dorowski : for just how detailed and accurate this scale can be.

Sir.Manperson detailed Creator-scale car builds, and particularly his bars n clips suspension.

Senator Chinchilla : engine builds, in particular his technique of wrapping hoses as turbos.

Want to read more about the MkIII?
Here are interviews with the MkIII’s design team by Mulsanne Mike (with some photos from my visit to AAR):
http://www.mulsannescorner.com/ToyotaEagleMkIII.html

Essential reading
"Prototypes" J.A. Martin & Ken Wells
"GTP Race Cars" J.A. Martin & Michael Fuller
 

 

Edited by prototyp
fixing photo link conversions...

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Absolutely stunning! 

I saw this on Flickr, then headed over here to read about it. I was not disappointed! 

Excellent job, love the rims!

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The attention to details is astonishing. 

What did you use to cover the rear end of front wheel arches?

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This is a mightily impressive model of a mightily impressive prototype! :wub:

Obviously, you are extremely familiar with the real racing car (I almost suspect you are a former team member...), and you translated your knowledge into this model with utmost attention to detail. Not to speak of the clever parts usage. :thumbup:

Thanks a lot for sharing this masterpiece!

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absolutely stunning work!! I love these old race cars

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Thank you, all. Thanks for looking and thank you for the comments.

 

On 10/2/2018 at 2:22 AM, zux said:

What did you use to cover the rear end of front wheel arches?

That's just a bit of 3M gloss black vinyl... same stuff used for the big numbers and livery color blocks. Seemed the most effective way to 'hide' that segment of those parts considering their rarity and cost (an aside, I paid nearly $20 for the two on this build... funny lesson learned there was to not only check the existence of a key part when designing a model but also to also check its availability.)

On 10/2/2018 at 6:57 AM, Tenderlok said:

Obviously, you are extremely familiar with the real racing car (I almost suspect you are a former team member...), and you translated your knowledge into this model with utmost attention to detail. Not to speak of the clever parts usage. :thumbup:

Going to races as a kid, I really did want to work on one of those teams! As for the details, I'd say this is a particular car I've spent a lot of time researching and understanding.

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